Advanced technology has been used in manufacturing for some time, but the newest collection of technologies that allow machines to learn and change will transform the apparel industry. These transformative technologies make it possible to produce high-quality clothing in the United States at reasonable prices. This new manufacturing revolution is commonly referred to as Industry 4.0.
Let’s look briefly at the 9 Industry 4.0 technologies that will drive apparel manufacturing in the near future:
1. Additive Manufacturing
Industry 4.0 allows apparel companies to produce small batches of products based on real-time customer input. This reduces waste, allows for on-time delivery, and the flexibility to make changes quickly and easily.
2. Analyzing Big Data
Apparel companies now have the ability to collect and evaluate data from a wide variety of sources including production systems and customer-management systems. With this technology, manufacturers have the ability to make decisions in real time.
3. Augmented Reality
Although augmented reality is still new to manufacturing, the future is bright. This will allow clothing manufacturers to improve both procedures and decision making with real-time information.
4. Cloud Technology
Cloud technology is improving as quickly as apparel industries need the enhanced performance. Because of reaction times in the milliseconds, data and functionality for apparel production can be put into the cloud and used for even more data-driven processes.
As you can imagine, as more devices gather and analyze data, the need for cybersecurity increases. Cybersecurity technology has advanced dramatically to allow for sophisticated access management and identity across devices, products, and raw materials used in apparel manufacturing.
6. Internet of Things
Because of Industry 4.0, nearly every device, product, and material can be embedded with an RFID tag or similar technology. This allows every aspect of the process to communicate and interact with each other, providing real-time responses.
Although robotics has existed for decades in manufacturing, the new autonomous robots can interact with humans, with each other, and learn from both. Not only do they cost less than current robots, but they can do far more.
Simulation allows apparel manufacturers to test operations in a virtual world before doing so in the physical one. With the use of real-time data, operators can determine which machine settings work best before producing actual garments. This will cut down on waste, decrease setup times, and increase final product quality.
9. System Integration
Whether looking at horizontal or vertical systems, Industry 4.0 allows these systems to talk to one another and evolve in tandem with universal data-integration producing automated value chains.
Apparel companies must adopt these new technologies to remain relevant in today’s marketplace.
Blacksmith International is a global supply chain management company. If you need help getting your product made right, contact us here